The last time I came to Paris, I took about 500 photos of all the sites one is supposed to take while visiting Paris. I am glad I have those photos because I only brought my prime lens with me this time—not the best choice for capturing Paris. Here, for instance, is a very small part of Notre Dame:
So instead of the big sites, I am taking photos like this one:
I don’t know why he’s up there … but I like that he is!
Perhaps the highlight of the trip so far has been the visit I paid to Le Musée Fragonard, which is located within the Alfort Veterinary School. The school opened its doors in 1766 and many of the specimens in the museum date from throughout the 18th and 19th centuries (and are still being used as teaching aids). Like the skeleton of this two-headed darling:
One of the main ideas that the museum conveys is that body preservation and organ-casting is an art (in fact, preservationists like Eugène Petitcolon came to be understood as artists).
The primary reason I visited the museum was to see this piece:
Made by Honoré Fragonard in the 18th century, “le cavalier de l’apocalypse” embodies the crucial braiding of the pathological sciences, art, and narrative. I spoke about it (and a few of Fragonard’s other pieces) during the the introduction for my dissertation defense. Seeing it in person kind of blew me away.
Another set of objects that blew me away were a collection of preserved brachial trees from a variety of animals. They were made at the beginning of the 20th century to aid in the study of tuberculosis. Here is cat:
And cow (left) and horse (right):
These inspired a series of drawings which I will use as templates for cut-outs when I get home. There is a story that is developing among them—but I am not exactly sure what it will look like just yet. Here are a couple:
One final photo. The requisite “sitting in café” shot. Note the appropriation of the ashtray: